Self-love has been at the forefront of many conversations to date. For generations, women of color have had to put their self-love on the backend. Our mothers and grandmothers were feeding love into their children, grandchildren, husbands, and community while overlooking their own. Sadly, as their daughters, the cycle of giving all our love and remaining "strong" continues in our hearts to this day. Growing up, my mother showered everyone with love except herself.
As I got older and began dating, I found myself giving all my love to men who didn't know how to love me. For years, I felt highly unfilled in my relationships. As time went on, I realized how much pressure I put on others to love me because I didn't know how to love myself.
Fast forward to a new self-loving and self-aware version of myself. Knowing my love language and using it as a tool to fill my cup has been my most significant flex. I am no longer co-dependent on others to make me feel whole, loved, and accepted.
Here is my journey to using my love language (physical touch) to practice self-love.
Touch My Body
Since my love language is physical touch, I genuinely enjoy self-care practices that incorporate such. Massages have been a great self-care practice that allow me to connect with myself. The warmth of massage oils touching my skin fulfills my inner child. As a little girl, I lacked the warmth of a mother's touch. Getting massages allows me to feel the warmth I craved for so long.
Touching my body in ways that give me warmth helps me immensely. I enjoy using coconut oil, warming it with my hands, and massaging it into my skin. This method allows me to take time to connect with myself genuinely. I've realized through this simple practice, I feel more empowered physically communicating with myself and my needs. I have also not sought out relationships that are purely physical.
Breathing Into Validation
I know some people don't see deep breathing as a physical touch practice. I disagree with this narrative. I believe breathing in general can be a very loving and healing practice. Deep breathing can also be a tremendous physical touch practice if you choose to incorporate it.
I generally start by finding a comfortable position, either sitting up or laying down. I slowly begin to take deep breaths and incorporate a four-count—breathing-in for four counts and exhaling four counts.
Now, here's where it gets real. During my in-depth breathing sessions, I think of my triggers. I ask myself: What has triggered me in the past or present? And where do I feel that on my body? Wherever I feel the hurt on my body is where I place my hand.
This healing practice has helped me acknowledge any pain, hurt, or emotional trauma I have encountered in my journey. I validate myself so others don't have to.
Girl, I craved hugs and kisses as a child, so why not let mother nature do it? Mother nature is a beautiful way to connect with yourself. She helps us find answers when we are lost, peace when life is chaotic, and heal us when we feel broken. She loves and accepts us in every season of our life. During my season of healing, I turned to her.
This may sound a bit cliche, but I love letting the sun kiss my skin. When my touch isn't enough, I will take advantage of going for a nature walk in my local neighborhood park. Having the sun's warmth on my skin is mother nature hugging me (in my head). Through my walks in nature, I've learned that sometimes all a dying rose needs is a little bit of sun to bloom again.
Taking time to learn the way I receive love has been a healing experience. I have noticed a massive difference in the way I carry myself in my relationships. For example, I no longer seek only a physical connection with someone because I can fulfill that need for myself. Therefore, my relationships have gotten more profound with a greater purpose.
Through this experiment, I've learned that learning your love language will bring you closer to yourself. In return, you're more likely to step into the world as your most aligned self.
Learning to love yourself is a feeling that won't ever expire, let you down, hurt you, or break up with you. Learning to love yourself is the greatest timeless reward you'll ever receive.
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